October 27, 2006

Well, you know what happens after dark


Doug Aitkin, Still from Electric Earth, 1999

For Mac
-- by Jack Spicer

A dead starfish on a beach
He has five branches
Representing the five senses
Representing the jokes we did not tell each other
Call the earth flat
Call other people human
But let this creature lie
Flat upon our senses
Like a love
Prefigured in the sea
That died.
And went to water
All the oceans
Of emotion. All the oceans of emotion
are full of such ffish
Why
Is this dead one of such importance?

New Year's Eve at Dave and Sheila's
-- by W.S. DiPiero

"Everybody's looking for something." —Annie Lennox

This side of the freeway,
wooly pops confuse
the dance floor beat.
Everything smells good.
My sweating partner's hips
push harder into mine,
tequila yeasting through our skin.
We'd lick each other dry,
drink, then do it again
while blue lamps twitch
between other lost dancers.
Until someone at midnight
presses S T O P and calls us
to the front door. We kiss
and hug whoever's near,
squeezing into the night air
where the pops, a thousand corks
like muffled distant gunshots,
are gunshots in fact, louder now
in the quiet outside.
They won't fall here
where in June mysterious
citron lilies bloom. Who knows
how they got here?
We know from Eyewitness News
what guns cost there, beyond
the freeway, the kind
with snappy briefcase handles.
In the air, we smell ourselves,
the old grand cedar by the door,
the dangerous holly leaves,
our tequila, peanuts, and sweat.
How can we not love them,
so telling and transfixed?
When music snaps on again,
we drift back to the floor,
adrift in each other's arms,
and love it more, the constancy
of unchanging beat and words,
against which throbbing voice
my partner, pressing her mouth
to my ear, rubs harder with me
and sings We're here because
we're here because we're here.

Survival of the Fittest
-- by William F. Vanwert

Darwin was the first to link
underwear with evolution:
the better-fitting survived,
reproduced, accommodated
the elements. First loincloth,
then short tunic or chiton,
Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all
wore underwear designed to show
from under a toga. By way of
casual greeting, the Romans
often flashed each other.

Thing Language
-- by Jack Spicer

This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water. It means
Nothing.
It
Is bread and butter
Pepper and salt. The death
That young men hope for. Aimlessly
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals. No
One listens to poetry.

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